By Silvia Boncutiu; Edited by Katie Hackett
Six-year-old Mia has the prettiest big, blue eyes. She’s the youngest of five children, and the challenges she faces would be unbearable for most of us, but her eyes are filled with optimism.
Mia was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that causes fluid in the brain, enlarging the head and sometimes causing brain damage. In Romania, around 600 children are born each year with hydrocephalus and some of them—if treated properly—can recover extremely well from it.
Unfortunately, Mia is not in that category. When she was born, she had a surgery, but the result was not the expected one.
“When she was born, we didn’t see Mia for a couple of days and after that, in the next months, the doctors kept telling us that she will die,” her dad explains. “The doctors put a drain tube from her brain to her stomach, in order to clear the fluid from her brain. I don’t know if they did something wrong in that intervention because my little girl can’t feel anything from her waist down, not even when she needs to go to the toilet.”
Mia’s legs are deformed, positioned outwards. Loud noises bother her because of the pressure in her brain. Last year, overwhelmed by the problems, Mia’s mom left their family. Now Mia and her four siblings are being raised by their dad.
Help families in communities like Valcea and sponsor a child today.
Even so, Mia’s is a fighter. She is sociable and intelligent. She goes to kindergarten as often as she can and appreciates the company of her small dog “Linda” who keeps her company when her brothers or father are busy.
For the past three years, Mia and one of her brothers have been sponsored.
The extra support helps cover the cost of Mia’s diapers. And a gift from her brother’s sponsor helped with construction materials so Mia’s dad could repair their home and build a sidewalk for Mia’s wheelchair.
Mia received the wheelchair last year through a partnership between World Vision and USAID. Without the chair she had been virtually unable to leave home.
“It breaks my heart when I see how she crawls like a snake,” says her dad. “Thanks to the wheelchair that we received, now she is able to get out, go to kindergarten and visit some friends.”
Last summer the family received a washing machine, which is a huge support to Mia’s single dad. He does his best to keep their little house clean. It’s especially important to him because when she’s at home there’s no space for Mia’s wheelchair so she crawls on the floor.
She does this every time Radu, a little boy from kindergarten who lives next door, comes to visit.
“Last time he brought me cake and it was delicious,” says Mia.